Gian Piero Gasperini admits Atalanta’s five-goal Coppa Italia thriller with Lazio was ‘spectacular’ and he expects a similar match when they meet again on Sunday.
La Dea won the quarter-final 3-2 despite having Jose Luis Palomino sent off after just 57 minutes, at which point the result was 2-2.
There could even have been a fourth, as Duvan Zapata’s penalty was saved by Pepe Reina, and Atalanta will face Napoli or Spezia in the semi-final.
“It was fun, wasn’t it? A fascinating game, at times spectacular,” the coach told RAI Sport.
“We made a lot of mistakes when we took the lead and didn’t play as well as we should’ve done. Then our second half was extraordinary, as going down to 10 men seemed to make everything more complicated, but we scored a goal, had a penalty and the last 10 minutes was one long defensive exercise.
“Lazio are very strong in the air and towards the end crosses into the box were the only way they were causing us any problems.
“Reaching the semi-final is a great achievement. This is a competition we want to approach in the best possible way and to go as far as possible.”
Atalanta and Lazio will meet again in Bergamo for the Serie A fixture on Sunday afternoon. Are we to expect another five-goal thriller?
“Serie A is a different competition, but these basically are the teams. The mentality and structure remains the same, our games are always full of goals, with moments where one team or another takes control.
“Obviously, this victory boosts our confidence going into that weekend match. We cared about this game, as did Lazio, and Serie A is a different tournament with more margin for error. Here, it’s in or out, so playing over half-an-hour down to 10 men was a struggle, but we’ll recover our energy for the weekend.”
There has been a lot of tension between Atalanta and Lazio since the 2-0 Coppa Italia Final result in 2019.
"We all remember the handball incident then, especially as it would've been not just a penalty, but also a second yellow card. It was pretty clear, eh? With all the cameras that were there, even VAR... Anyway, that was a different match, that is in the past."